As it enters its eighth, the conflict in Yemen is forcing millions across the country to unimaginable levels of poverty and suffering. Most vulnerable are women and children who make up around 80 per cent of the 4 million internally displaced people. Over half of the families in Yemen have already lost their source of income since 2015 while rounds of currency devaluation and fuel crisis further increased prices of essentials items. The crisis in Ukraine has forced prices of key commodities like wheat and grain up a further 30% over the last few days.
Since the escalation of conflict in 2015, Yemenis continue hoping for a much better year, a year that could mark and end to the suffering driven by this ongoing conflict. However, conditions become worse and worse with income opportunities shrinking while living costs are soaring, further stretching coping mechanisms. The most vulnerable Yemeni women, girls, children and men are forced to pay the price. Yemenis are left alone with no social security and no protection in place. Now even people who used to help their relatives and neighbours are not able to do so anymore due to the ongoing deterioration of living conditions they themselves face. The lack of social security and protection and collapsing systems along with ongoing fighting and inadequate funding, means unimaginable scenarios including famine are possible.
Economy and infrastructure are key barriers to accessing basic services like food and medical care for millions across the country. As civil society organizations working in Yemen, we were able to deliver life-saving aid to the most vulnerable communities despite the challenging context. Humanitarian aid is the last resort and a lifeline for millions of vulnerable families who have been affected and forced from their homes and dreams to survive.
Being on the fore front of the crisis, civil society organizations have seen and monitored the significant impact of the funding decline on families who depend entirely on humanitarian aid, not only limiting the number of beneficiaries of that aid, but also reducing food rations. This will put hundreds of thousands of families in a real battle with hunger, the results of which will undoubtedly be catastrophic and horrific. Ensuring adequate funds for the humanitarian response in Yemen is not optional, but sadly an urgent and vital life jacket made necessary by the harsh conditions of war that permeate to all aspects of life. Funding is critical, so we are able to fulfill our duty towards more than two thirds of the population who rely on humanitarian help to survive.
As donor community and member states gather in the pledging event for Yemen organized by Switzerland, Sweden and the UN, we the undersigned Yemeni Civil society organizations call for urgent mobilization of adequate funds to ensure that humanitarian agencies have adequate resources to address the increasing needs on the ground and sustain life-saving interventions. Yemeni civil society organizations should also be prioritized for humanitarian funding across all sectors. Being on the ground we see the need to:
Initiate early recovery programming, scale up programs that focus on meeting the needs of vulnerable groups including women, girls, marginalized groups and migrants, ensuring full participation of civil society organization throughout the response.
scale up programming to enhance access to services and restore lives, address gender inequality and strengthen resilience so people can generate income and reduce dependability on emergency aid.
Make funds available to ensure the continuity of specialized protection and psychosocial support programs as well as to initiate programs to strengthen the social fabric and rehabilitation.
Most importantly, scale up peacebuilding programs and invest in empowering civil society organizations to create strong foundation for peace initiatives.